At approximately 1 pm on Tuesday, March 26th, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Nature Center received a call from a concerned guest about an adult and juvenile Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin that appeared to be stranded in a tide pool approximately 500 yards east of The Ocean Course beach access. Nature Program Manager, Nick Boehm, and Naturalist, Brogin Van Skoik, along with the Town’s beach patrol, John Gottshalk, and Wildlife Biologist, Jim Jordan, responded and discovered that mom and calf were about 60 yards away from the ocean and stuck side by side facing the dunes in about 10 inches of water. They could not swim, but were luckily able to breathe and had water flowing over them which are both very important in keeping them alive and less stressed while in this type of situation.
Although it is difficult to not want to intervene and try to move them to a safer place, doing so may potentially cause more damage to the dolphins or to those that are trying to move them. So the best thing to do was to wait until the tide came in and keep an eye on them to make sure they didn’t get too worn out or totally beached.
Dolphins are used to being suspended in the water so being totally beached can put a lot of pressure on their bodies that they are not accustomed to. At about 3:45pm, three hours after the initial call, we got word from Jim Jordan that the water level had risen and they were both safely swimming in the ocean again. Although this is not a regular occurrence, if you ever come across dolphins in this type of situation the best thing to do is to keep your distance to avoid excess stress on the dolphins, and contact the proper authorities in your area.